Mineral Wells, WV
Understanding and Overcoming Child Abuse
Child abuse is a very sensitive subject for many people. In fact, even as people begin to read this now they are probably feeling a little uneasy. That is understandable for this is comparable to a plague on the human race, a disease that knows no bounds. Nobody really wants to or enjoys talking about the subject, but it does need to be discussed. Due to the high ratio of people (1 in 5) who have claimed to have been assaulted in some form or another in their childhood, chances are high that someone you know has been a victim. I’m not trying to counsel anyone per se, for I am no licensed psychologist or anything close, but rather inform people on the issue, from my experience as a victim myself and the research I’ve conducted. I also endeavor to be forthcoming with any advice I can bestow upon readers in the process and hope that it may help the reader or someone they know that can make positive use of it. If you haven’t been deflected by the gravity of the topic yet, by all means, please read on.
What child abuse is defined as, its general history, and the many different forms it may take. Child Abuse is the physical, sexual or emotional mistreatment or neglect of a child or children1. Tragically, it is safe to say that abuse like we are familiar with today has been taking place in some form or another ever since the beginning of human existence. We are still attempting to fully understand the reasoning behind these vile deeds, but even with a clear explanation we would be hard-pressed to accept it. It’s just not something we can fully wrap our minds around. The perpetrators usually don’t have an explanation for their actions either, other than often they too were a victim. This is heavily researched data that cannot be denied. The cold hard truth of how prevalent abuse is in today’s society is clearly evident. Child abuse reporting and tracking has vastly improved over the years, so we can get some more accurate estimates on the status of the problem. Public awareness and willingness to intervene and stop or at least report abuse is increasing every year. It’s ridiculous that it has taken this long but better late than never. These levels of reporting have increased over 41% from 1988 to 1997 alone (Wang). The ratio of victims has also declined. In 1997 forty-seven children in 1000 were documented victims of maltreatment, the total of reported children being 1,054,000, according to the CPS (Child Protective Services agencies) (Wang 3-5). That number has now changed to 9.2 in 1000 for unique victims Page 1 of 7
as of 2010; with an estimated 754,000 duplicate and 695,000 unique children total were victims of maltreatment (Bureau). No doubt this coincides with increasingly higher reporting rates and awareness, on a federal and state level more and improved programs are in place to help curb the trend. In 1996 there were more than three children that died each day due to child abuse or neglect, with 1,185 recorded total. The U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services reports that for each year
between 2000 and 2005, "female parents acting alone"
were most likely to be perpetrators of child abuse at
around 40% (See figure 3-5 to left.) (Children's Bureau
40-41). Perhaps this is linked to the high number of
single mothers in society? See also from the figure on
the left that these heinous crimes are more often than not
performed by family members close to the child.
Another important demographic to look at is the age
groups and which ages are more likely to be targeted the
most (See figure 3-4 below.) (Bureau 19-20). It appears
the trend is that abuse is more prevalent in younger
children and diminishes as the ages increase; their self-awareness and understanding of right and wrong matures. The risk for the perpetrator increases. Just remember, we have no way of knowing the exact number of children who...